The original title for this post was “A Snowy Night in Minneapolis.” That seemed rather lame and likely to be overlooked by all but people who still collect Snowbabies. “Knives and Daggers” was the alternative that first came to mind.
It is, nonetheless, a snowy night in Minneapolis. A good six inches of snow when I was out for a walk earlier and light snow has fallen steadily in the two hours since.
I enjoy snow so I went for a walk to collect my thoughts and come up with the next big idea. I read today that the Groupon people passed on a multi-billion dollar proposal from Google. (Could that be right?) Some slob in a Groupon t-shirt declined. While he was declining Google’s offer I was likely twisting the arm of some auto mechanic by calculating ROI opportunities he might expect on an investment of a couple hundred dollars a month. That’s depressing some how.
But I like snow so I took advantage of the early winter snowstorm to get away from it all. Snow is timeless somehow. Weather is timeless. It is the only thing that has gone unchanged through the many thousands of generations that people have lived on this planet. I like thinking about that as a starting point and on a snowy night I usually end up somehow thinking about a snowy night in Connecticut. Human progress ended there.
Never underestimate the value of a good walk. Maybe it is the cadence of even footsteps that helps, but walking puts thoughts on an even pace, on a steady almost otherworldly flow. Walking is a good way to think. In my experience I rarely come up with ideas of much value while I sit and concentrate. It is better to walk and let thoughts and experience mix.
Tonight’s thoughts were not the kind that immediately present fortunes and fame. That doesn’t mean the walk was not without value. I learned, for example, that I might not want to drop with a heart attack in my neighborhood. Help would likely cross the street and avoid me. I met only one person on my walk who returned my cheerful evening greeting and when she did she was hurrying across the street seemingly anxious to get away.
Maybe I do terrorize the neighborhood in my sleep.
Fortunately there were not many people out tonight, otherwise all the neighborly good will might have made me cranky and spoiled a good walk. I did once — on a particularly rough day, I suppose — turn and call back to a woman who walked right past my hello without even a nod and I said: “I said ‘Hello”, bitch.” It is true. I did that. I kind of feel badly about it, but not so much. Her pace seemed to quicken a bit so I suppose she knew I was talking to her. And she was the only bitch on the sidewalk. Even the rude can put two and two together…
So back to tonight…Good thing there were not a lot of people on the sidewalk to throw off my peaceful walk through the snowy neighborhood. It is a beautiful snow that has fallen. That dry fluffy snow that muffles and softens everything so lightly. It crunches under your feet. Cold snow. It is a bit gritty in the face when you turn into the wind, but there is little trouble with that. I kept my hat pulled down tight on my head and tucked my chin into my coat and walked right through it.
Perhaps because this was the first snow of the year my thoughts did not wander too far. I focused mostly on the snow and snow memories. I have hazy memories of what might have been my first remembered snow, early snowmen, giant three-foot tall snow forts, and my first steel runner sled. We had Flexible Flyers and they were thought to be big boy toys. Those are good thoughts to have on a snowy walk.
I did notice a child playing in the snow at the end of the block. He was tossing big armfuls of snow up in the air and running under it, perhaps to add to the intensity of snowfall or to recreate a blizzard. I had never thought of doing that, but this kid seemed to like the idea. He moved like a jumping jack in slow motion, scoop up an arm full of snow, toss it up in a spread-eagle leap then hurry to get under the falling snow.
In the muffled silence of the waning snowstorm…I snuck up on him. When he did see me all the life vanished from his play. His enthusiasm seized up with embarrassment perhaps. Of course I wanted to be friendly and reassuring so I gave a big geeky smile and an equally big hello. And he, alas, like the others said nothing and just kicked his feet a little until I was safely past him. A front porch light came on shortly afterward and an adult called him in.
So what? I still had fun. No Google-worthy ideas evolved during my walk. Maybe it is just that kind of a week. But I had fun. I will have ideas tomorrow. (Don’t miss them.)
- Groupon walks away from Google takeover talks – report (money.cnn.com)